Monday, March 28, 2011

Intel Unleashes New 320 Series SSD with Increased Capacity

Intel 320 Series SSDIntel has just announced their newest product, the Intel SSD 320 Series, which represents a significant upgrade to Intel's existing lineup of solid-state drives. According to Intel, this series of SSD can have up to 600GB and improves performance all while having a better price than the current X25-M Series. This new SSD definitely fulfills Intel's promise of their 25-nanometer multilevel cell flash manufacturing process. This process increased production in 2010 and increased SSD capacity points while also reducing production costs by cramming 8GB of storage onto a single 167mm flash die.

For those of you who don't know, that is twice the capacity that could be produced by the previous 34nm process. Intel has done a lot of work with the 320 Series. Everything you know about the SSD has been redesigned. It now uses an all-new Intel controller and even supports 128-bit AES encryption. This series also enhances data reliability through extra arrays which amplify the error correction that is already in the flash. Then it adds a failsafe in order to enable the drive to complete writing a file even if it has been interrupted by a loss of power.

With all these new features, the new SSD should not have any problems appealing to the target audience of consumers and business users. Intel expects the 320 Series to even find a place in data center and server applications as a replacement for the 15,000 rpm hard drives. Intel has not yet released a retail pricing, however, they do expect the drives to sell in quantity for $89 (40GB), $159 (120GB), $289 (160GB) $529 (300GB) and $1,069 (600GB). If you want a comparison, the Crucial RealSSD 300 (256GB) currently sells for $475 while the Intel X25-M (160GB) goes for about $410.

Intel has stated that they expect the 160GB SSD 320 Series to sell for "about $100" less than the X25-M. A year ago a 256GB SSD would run you around $750, so if Intel's expected volume prices can become retail prices, we may just see a new lineup that could help adapt SSD into a more mainstream item.

Source: PCWorld - Intel 320 Series SSD Boosts Capacity, Drops Cost

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Chrome 11 Hits Beta Form with Some Amazing Additions

The latest and greatest edition of Firefox, known as Firefox 4, was just released a few days ago in an official worldwide release. Upon looking at it for the first time, it appears to be a great update to the Mozilla Firefox browser containing immense speed improvements. And if there is anything a browser needs these days to stay in the game, it is fast, and I mean fast, speeds.

You can attribute that need to Google's shot at an internet browser with Google Chrome, which is one of the fastest growing internet browsers on the market. But just because Mozilla added faster speeds to Firefox 4 to combat Google Chrome does not mean Google Chrome is just sitting there taking it. On the exact same day that Mozilla launched Firefox 4, Google pushed out Chrome 11 in beta form. At first glance, Chrome 11's beta may appear to be no more than a reason to show off the new Google Chrome icon. However, if you dig deep, you will realize that there are a few amazing things to be seen, things you won't want to miss.

One new feature for Chrome 11 is added support for HTML5's speech input API. What this means is that you will have the ability to talk to your computer while Chrome 11 interprets it. For those of you tech savvy folks that have already gotten the hang of this via an Android device or other mobile platform, this is something you will definitely love. One thing to note is that this is an HTML5 spec so it is not Chrome 11 specific, any internet browser can use it. Though if you want to use it right now, you have to get the Chrome 11 beta.

According to reports about the talk to text feature, the program works quite well. You speak whatever you want to say and the browser is able to transcribe your speech into visible text on the screen. The best part is that you don't need to install any annoying Flash player or plug-in, it just works.

Another feature of the Chrome 11 beta is an initial take on GPU-accelerated 3D CSS, according to Google. This will allow website developers to create sites with 3D effects using CSS very soon which, like the talk to text thing, is very cool.

As version numbers of internet browsers have been rapidly increasing, Google says that it does not like bragging about new version bumps. However, this one is still pretty cool and should be in stable form very shortly.

Source: TechCrunch - On Firefox 4 Day, Chrome 11 Hits Beta With The Ability To Talk To Your Computer!

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Has AMD Finally Topped Nvidia in Triple-GPU Scaling?

When building your own PC or even just upgrading the one you already have, you have a tendency to always go bigger. A lot of the time people do serious upgrades when they upgrade their GPU. A lot of people upgrade to the next higher model, but some double up and get two GPUs. But then there are the others who put their money down on the question of whether or not three GPUs is all that much better than two?

Nvidia has been the undeniable leader when it comes to multi-card scaling with AMD always trailing behind. However, there are a new array of GPUs from AMD that may just push them ahead of Nvidia in the multi-card scaling race. The geniuses over at Tom's Hardware loaded up a super fast computer with single, dual and triple -GPU configurations to find out the truth.

In the GPU market, everything is pretty much a waiting game. About every six months or so, either AMD or Nvidia releases a product and the other company waits to see what is going on hoping to bounce that one back by tweaking the clocks, power and configuration of their own device. Both companies do this in order to build anticipation with their followers.

Despite the hysteria in the GPU world, the past few launches have barely raised the bar at all. Anybody out there that wants to play their games at a high resolution without giving up all the juicy goodness of the game will probably have to use a multi-GPU setup.

So the big question here is not necessarily which card is better but rather which works better in pairs and trios. Buyers and enthusiasts can save a lot of money by purchasing AMD's 1 GB card. However, the newest 2 GB AMD Radeon HD 6950 is the least expensive three-way CrossFire option.

The closest competitor to this is Nvidia's GeForce GTX 5570 1280 MB GPU which also represents the cheapest current three-way SLI configuration from Nvidia. Tom's Hardware has already reported on great scaling from three-way SLI so what is probably the biggest question is whether or not AMD's scaling has improved to the point where it can surpass Nvidia. Two-way figures point to the positive and it seems that Radeon devices work together much better than in the past.

Overall, CrossFire's value-oriented win in the two-way area and the performance win in the three-way configuration setup was enough to make Radeon the clear cut winner according to Tom's Hardware. However, if that isn't convincing enough for you, then the low power consumption of the Radeon HD 6950 should be. If you want the full rundown and specifications of the tests and all the juicy details, head on over to Tom's Hardware now and check it out.

Source: Tom's Hardware - Triple-GPU Scaling: AMD CrossFire Vs. Nvidia SLI

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hitachi GTS Acquired by Western Digital for $4.3 Billion

Western DigitalEvery now and then in the computer world we actually do hear about things that do not involve Apple or anything Apple related. It is rare, yes, but it does happen. One such instance is that Western Digital, a company known for their hard drives, has officially bought out Hitachi GST for a pretty $4.3 billion.

That's right, on Monday Western Digital told media outlets that they were buying Hitachi Global Storage Technologies for the equivalent of $4.3 billion. There were different things that comprised the entire deal which included a combination of $3.5 billion in cash with the addition of shares in the total amount of $50 million. Full terms of the deal included Western Digital's name remaining the same for the company and Hitachi GST CEO Steve Milligan joining Western Digital as President.

CEO of Western Digital John Coyne argued to media sources that the move was primarily for scale. Western Digital and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies would form a larger competitor company and would also have the advantage of better research as well as a wider range of products as Hitachi has focused primarily on fields like drivers for set-top boxes and a greater focus on mobile hard drives.

This move is an attempt by Western Digital to hedge their position and compete against a market that gets increasingly tougher each day. Hitachi has suffered with reduced influence whereas Western Digital has been battling it out with fellow American rival company Seagate. Western Digital's acquisition of Hitachi GST gives the company a improved position in the competition.

Source: Electronista - Western Digital to snap up Hitachi GTS for $4.3 billion

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Microsoft Launches Campaign to Kill Internet Explorer 6 for Good

Anti Internet Explorer 6Are you one of those people out there who only uses Internet Explorer for your web browser? If so, then you may also be a part of the large group of people that still uses Internet Explorer 6. Well, if you are one of these people, you have some bad news coming your way. Microsoft has officially launched a new web site that is aimed at increasing its campaign to move internet users off of Internet Explorer 6 forever.

This new site, known as the Internet Explorer 6 Countdown, went live today and is "dedicated to watching Internet Explorer 6 usage drop to less than 1% worldwide, so more websites can choose to drop support for Internet Explorer 6, saving hours of work for web developers," according to the site.

A lot of computers, mainly in the business world, continue to use Internet Explorer 6 due to internal-facing apps that are dependent on the 10-year-old, non-standards compliant browser from Microsoft. Thankfully, the web page has links to tools for businesses just like this that are stuck with Internet Explorer 6. Gartner analysts have complained in the past that Microsoft's current tools for moving business users off of Internet Explorer 6 have been far too pricey.

Another feature of the Countdown page includes a world map that highlights countries around the world who still have the most Internet Explorer 6 installations. Right now China holds the number one spot. In addition to focusing on the developer side of the Anti-Internet Explorer 6 campaign, Microsoft officials are also emphasizing the improved security Internet Explorer 6 users can receive from switching to Internet Explorer 7 or Internet Explorer 8. Internet Explorer 9 is currently in the release candidate stage and is not mentioned on the page as a comparison point.

Source: ZDNet - Microsoft: Friends don't let friends use Internet Explorer
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